Longford leads way with launch of six Wi-Fi town centre hotspots
Longford County Council is the first local authority nationwide, to introduce six eduroam Wi-Fi hotspots in local town centres, as part of the eduroam Everywhere initiative, to support local students and researchers.
It means those studying remotely in county Longford, whose learning institutions participate in eduroam, will now have immediate, free and secure internet access on their registered devices, within range of these hotspots in Longford, Ballymahon and Drumlish town centres, as well as at Longford, Ballymahon and Granard public libraries.
The eduroam Everywhere initiative in Ireland is pioneered by HEAnet, Ireland’s National Education and Research Network. Already, over 160 eduroam hotspots have been activated, mainly in universities, institutes of technology and other third-level educational organisations. HEAnet is now focused on bringing eduroam outside the campus walls.
Broadband Officer with Longford County Council Christine Collins said, “This was a natural development, following on from Longford County Council's launch of Wi-Fi4EU in town centres, where we realised, we had the option to establish a second network on the same infrastructure. This is such a challenging time for students, and we know they are crying out for connectivity, so we wanted to reach out and support them. HEAnet have been very supportive and guided us through the whole process which turned out to be both quick and simple.”
Chief Executive of Longford County Council Paddy Mahon remarked, “This is another addition to our vibrant town centres that will have long term benefits for the local education community. It’s a great boost to those who wish to study remotely.”
Cathaoirleach of Longford County Council Paul Ross added, “I want to congratulate the IT section of Longford County Council and all involved in this initiative. It’s further evidence that Longford is an innovative, progressive and forward-thinking county that really cares for its students and researchers.”
Longford County Librarian Mary Carleton Reynolds outlined, “This is a great initiative and we’ve had wonderful feedback so far. It will give more secure and effective access to third level students, researchers and especially those pursuing further education courses to their colleges. Currently our library buildings are closed but when public health guidelines allow, we look forward to promoting this innovative new service to the local community.”
Kerrie Power, HEAnet’s CEO, said: “A recent study by ESRI has shown that 1 in 6 college students come from areas with poor broadband coverage which makes us determined to support reducing and ultimately removing the digital divide. We are working together to make Wi-Fi available in as many locations as possible so that students can keep learning no matter how reliable or unreliable their internet connection is at home.”
“eduroam Everywhere is a really big, ambitious project and we need support to achieve our goals. We would like to thank the Longford County Council for their engagement and look forward to the positive impact this will have on students in this region.”